"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thank you, Jesus!

I suppose it makes perfect sense that the cross is on my heart this morning. I mean this is the day our Savior died on the cross. For us. Last night Seth & I watched “The Passion of the Christ”. He had never seen it & I told him I thought it was a great idea. Oh man, I forgot how vividly powerful that movie is. At many points I had to close my eyes because it was “too much” for me to watch. Too much for me to simply watch on a TV screen?!  Jesus had to actually endure it & I didn’t even have the strength to watch a video that portrayed the beating & torture He endured.  Wow. What a Savior we have- to endure unbelievable, relentless & unthinkable torment & mockery. And the crazy thing is He died for us….we weren’t even to be born for hundreds & hundreds of years but He personally knew we needed His salvation & He loved us that much. Not only that, but He carried the weight of our sin on His shoulders looong long before we were born. Not only ours, but everyone’s...ever. I cannot even begin to fathom the passion of His love for us & for His Father. Never has there been a greater example of obedience. Never has there been such a pure, true, passionate Love. When I was watching the movie I was just hit hard by how easy I forget the sacrifice He made. He left the most perfect place in Heaven & came here, not living for Himself but His heart beating for us sinners. He was fully man too. He had parents & friends. It really hurt Him. Just because He was God doesn’t mean He didn’t feel every whip, every mocking, every spit, every aching pain searing through His body. How could we not worship such a Love? Who are we to think we are sufficient on our own? Without Jesus we would be done for & doomed forever. The reoccurring  theme that continues to play in my mind is how He loves us like crazy, with such a passion & understanding, that He died for us.  There’s a song that I’ve been hearing a lot lately, and I absolutely love it. It’s a beautiful worship song. “To the Cross” by Paul Baloche.
Where can I go
But to the cross to the cross
For there my shame
You have washed away

Where can I go
But to the cross to the cross
For there You gave
Up Your life for me
You gave Your life for me

You stretched Your arms out wide
I lift my hands up high to my Savior
You stretched Your arms out wide
I lift my hands up high to my Savior

So Lord I run
To the cross to the cross
Surrender all to my Savior King
Be my everything

Chains are broken
Shame has fallen
All my sins are gone

What a Savior. He came to free us & save us. We don’t have to live in fear, in bondage, in complacency, in worries, in doubts, in anger, in addictions, in torment, in uncertainty, in loneliness, in the past, in unforgiveness, in pain, in shame, etc. He alone has the power to free us from such things. And to redeem us & make all things new. And He keeps inviting us to lay down at the foot of the cross because there is more power & strength there than anywhere else. Let’s just praise our Jesus for His magnificent & beautiful Love.
We give you so much praise & thanks Jesus!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Into the heart of the South!

Whew, it's been awhile since an update!! We just got back from a road trip to Texas & Little Rock! We went on the trip with the motivation to search out our future apartment in Little Rock. And since Texas is only 6 short hours deeper south, we couldn't pass up the chance to go visit our favorite Texans! We headed to Texas first to spend friday evening, saturday & sunday with Jake, Jen, & Kylie Jo. As always we had so much fun with them. Jake and Seth worked on a backyard patio bar (pictures below) & it turned out very nicely. I managed to get BURNT in just 1 hour of sitting outside without sunscreen (yes, I was warned to wear it). The sun is a lot hotter in Texas 92 degree weather! We spent a lot of the time just lovin' up that sweet girl & playing some long-awaited hand & foot card game with Jake & Jen. We are excited to live closer to them in a couple months! Seth & Jake are already dreaming up the projects they will build together. Below are some pictures from our Texas trip:

 She was trying to crawl on my lap & grab the camera strap, so it made for some hilarious pictures!

 Ahh, so stinkin cute!!

 Uncle Seth & Kylie Jo

 Aunt Ang & Kylie Jo

 Their neighbor took a group shot for us :)

 Dad & his girl

 Mom & her girl
 Beautiful Family

 This is one of my favorite pictures...Kylie Jo is lovin her Uncle Seth!

 Jake & Seth working on the patio bar

The finished project!

Sadly our time with the Weber's was short, but we packed up & we headed to Little Rock, AR on Monday morning. We arrived about 230 in the afternoon & had a meeting at FamilyLife @ 3. We met with the head of global department (which we will be working in) and talked for a while. Afterwards we went to the Blunier's home (FamilyLife Staff), where we would be staying that week. We had a great night of eating, talking & catching up. Tuesday morning starts our apartment hunt. I should preface this hunt with a few things: 1. From looking online & talking to people we pretty much thought we knew where we would live but thought it wise to still look at as many apartments as possible during our short stay 2. Goodfield, IL cost of living is not a good comparison to city living (aka, we underbudgeted :)). We searched really vigorously for 2.5 days. We looked at at least 13 apartments & a couple of them twice. Everytime we thought we had seen a great one, we found another great one. This makes for a difficult decision when we can both tend to be indecisive at times. We saw some beautiful, some not so great, some smelly, some in good areas, some in bad areas. We learned that EVERY apartment in the south includes a swimming pool, woohoo! Also we learned that Little Rock is an apartment metropolis. It seems that every corner we turned there stood another huge complex. We finally narrowed our search down to 4 apartments which we were going to look at thursday am before we headed back home. Before we ventured out on our last tour of the apts, we looked up reviews online & let's just say that crossed out two options very easily. So the search narrowed to 2 options. We visited both of them one last time & kept going back & forth and back & forth & back & forth. The 9 hour drive home we kept going back & forth. All friday we kept going back & forth. Both were very comparable in most all ways. We made lists, talked to friends, family, staff. We would have been very happy at either, so through some obvious provisions from God, we committed to our future apartment on saturday. Seth was getting ready to call & tell them we would like to live at their apartments & I started bawling. A little baffled, he asks "Are you okay?" I told him "I don't think i'm ready for this! I don't want to move away from our family & friends & familiar, It's all hitting me super hard, this makes it very official & the reality of moving away is not in the far off future any more". So I expect the next 2 months to be much of the same...ups & downs emotionally. But the one thing that stays the same is the peace that is passing my understanding. The unwavering knowing that this is where we are supposed to go regardless of the waves that may crash in the process. Someone told us this sunday at church...this is where faith gets wings & takes flight. As of right now our rent in goodfield expires at the end of may & our rent in little rock begins in june. We are trusting the All-knowing God who has led us this far to continue His perfect provision. One of my all time favorite lyrics comes from a Bebo Norman song....."This task before me may seem unclear, but it, my maker holds".